Posts Tagged religion
National Catholic Reporter said today that Ramsey County has dropped criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis after it revised an existing civil-claims settlement to admit wrongdoing. According to County Attorney John Choi, the text added to the settlement documents takes direct responsibility. It reads:
“Curtis Wehmeyer was a priest in this Archdiocese. The Archdiocese admits that it failed to adequately respond and prevent the sexual abuse of Victim 1, Victim 2, and Victim 3. The Archdiocese failed to keep the safety and wellbeing of these three children ahead of protecting the interests of Curtis Wehmeyer and the Archdiocese. The actions and omissions of the Archdiocese failed to prevent the abuse that resulted in the need for protection and services for these three children.”
The amendment also requires newly installed Archbishop Bernard Hebda to participate in at least three Restorative Justice sessions convened by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, extends court oversight of the diocese until 2020, adds a county-appointed representative to the diocesan review board, strengthens child protection, and sets up ongoing counseling services. (Note that VOTF also offers restorative justice options in our Healing Circles.)
You will find the full story here.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley (head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) said on Monday (Feb. 16) that a prior climate of denial among Catholic cardinals on the need for reform with regard to the church’s child sexual abuse scandals has been largely driven underground.
“O’Malley also said that a lack of accountability for bishops who fail to make “zero tolerance” policies stick has damaged the church’s credibility, and vowed that he will present proposals for new accountability mechanisms to the pope within two months’ time.
“O’Malley spoke Monday in an exclusive interview with the Globe during a Rome event to present an expanded antiabuse initiative at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.
POPES and their officials have long benefited from the Vatican’s unique dual status in international law. As the Vatican City State, it can shelter prelates wanted for questioning elsewhere and play host to offshore financial institutions such as the Vatican Bank. But when world leaders visit the pope in Rome it is to meet the absolute ruler of a global entity, the Holy See. As the Holy See, the Vatican engages in diplomacy, holds observer status at the UN and signs most treaties. The Holy See is sometimes called a sovereign entity without territory, although its sovereign, the pope, is also the ruler of the Vatican City State. It is a legal expression of the Catholic church’s leadership, yet American lawyers for the church have successfully argued that the Vatican is not responsible for Catholic clerics’ wrongdoing.
“On May 23rd the Vatican’s split personality will be put to a new test when a UN committee releases the findings of an inquiry into the Holy See’s compliance with the Convention against Torture, which it signed in 2002. Most of the questions put to the pope’s representative, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, in the public hearings were about the sexual abuse of children and adolescents by Catholic clerics. If the committee decides it was torture, a wave of prosecutions of historic offences could follow: there is usually no time limit for bringing torture charges, as there generally is for sex crimes. And if it judges the Holy See accountable for priests’ and bishops’ misconduct, victims’ lawyers may challenge existing jurisprudence and demand compensation from Rome.”
By The Economist — Click here to read the rest of this story.
We (the editors of National Catholic Reporter), like so many others, are taken with your very human and pastoral approach to life’s difficult issues, with your deep compassion that you don’t hesitate to demonstrate and with your insistent exhortation to move out of our comfortable churches and go encounter the rest of humanity, especially those on the margins …
“We claim a certain authority in addressing the issue (of clergy child sexual abuse) because we have been investigating and analyzing the scandal for so long. Countless times we have heard the defense that most abuse of children occurs outside the church and that the church has done more than any other institution to become transparent and aggressive in preventing abuse.
“The other side of that truth, Your Holiness, is that no other institution on earth had the means or the will to hide as much crime and sin for so long. The reality is that while the incidents of abuse of children are horrific, the larger and more persistent scandal is how many bishops and cardinals hid the sin, paid victims enormous sums of money to stay silent and refused to tell even their fellow bishops and priests of potential problems when they transferred troubled priests … ”
Click here to read the rest of the editorial.
UN Report on Clergy Sexual Abuse: By Wading into Culture Wars, UN May Muddy Its Message / The Boston Gobe
Because the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has no police power, it relies on moral pressure to get member states to adopt its child protection recommendations. That is obviously what it hoped to accomplish with Wednesday’s report on the Vatican and the child abuse scandals that have rocked Catholicism over the last dozen years, issuing a stinging indictment of what it called a culture of “impunity” for perpetrators. There is a strong possibility the fusillade from the UN panel may backfire, however, by blurring the cause of child protection with the culture wars over sexual mores.” By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this analysis.
Also of interest — “UN Panel Assails Vatican on Priest Abuse,” by Michael Rezendes and Lisa Wangsness, The Boston Globe
Vatican Analysts: Pope Francis’ Choice for Next Chicago Archbishop a Bellwether for U.S. Church / Associated Press
When he turned 75, Cardinal Francis George did what the Roman Catholic Church expects of its bishops. He submitted his resignation so the pope could decide how much longer the cardinal would serve.
“George said he hoped Pope Benedict XVI would keep him on as Chicago archbishop for two or three more years. ‘But, it’s up to him, finally,’ George told WLS-TV in Chicago.
“Two years and one surprise papal retirement later, the decision now belongs to Pope Francis. The pontiff’s choice will be closely watched as his first major appointment in the U.S., and the clearest indication yet of the direction he will steer American church leaders.”
By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, in Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this article.
Voice of the Faithful® provides on its website a Bishop Selection Primer, a two-page summary of the VOTF model for lay input into bishop selection
Though lengthy, this article appears comprehensive regarding changes Pope Francis has made in the Roman curia to re-direct the Church. The article also shows that, while humble, he is neither soft, nor naive concerning curial politics.
Less than a year into his papacy, Pope Francis has raised expectations among the world’s one billion Roman Catholics that change is coming. He has already transformed the tone of the papacy, confessing himself a sinner, declaring “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gays, and kneeling to wash the feet of inmates, including Muslims. Less apparent, if equally significant for the future of the church, is how Francis has taken on a Vatican bureaucracy so plagued by intrigue and inertia that it contributed, numerous church officials now believe, to the historic resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, last February.” By Jason Horowitz and Jim Yardley, The New York Times — Click here to read this entire article.